Naval officer's sword and scabbard

Object Number: 
1949.266a-c
Date: 
1861-1887
Medium: 
Steel, brass, gilding, fish skin textile; leather, brass, gilding
Dimensions: 
Overall: 35 1/2 x 5 x 2 3/4 in. ( 90.2 x 12.7 x 7 cm )
Marks: 
etched: on obverse of blade: "W. L. NICOLL." in relief: on brass disk inset on obverse of blade below hilt: "PROVED" etched: on reverse of blade: "JOSEPH / STARKEY / CONDUIT St / LONDON" and "U. S. N." in relief: on underside of counter-guard: "USN"
Description: 
Sword with very slightly curved, single-edged steel blade with etched scroll motifs, six-pointed star, naval insignia, and name of owner on obverse, and scroll motifs, naval and eagle insignia, and initials "U.S.N." on reverse; gilded brass counter-guard with openwork oak leaf and acorn motif with "USN" molded in relief on underside; grip covered in fish skin and wrapped with wire; Phrygian helmet-shaped brass pommel with oak leaf and acorn border and separately cast cap with eagle framed by thirteen stars; dolphin head at end of knuckle bow joining pommel, and dolphin head finial on quillon; tassel on long strip of gold metallic cloth tape joined to hilt; black leather scabbard (now broken in pieces, b-c), with gilded brasss mounts with embossed oak leaf and acorn bands flanking carrying ring mounts, which are cast in high relief and resemble knotted rope (tip missing).
Gallery Label: 
According to the accession records, this sword was used by the donor's uncle William Leonard Nicoll (1842-1887), who served in the Corps of Engineers during and after the Civil War.
Credit Line: 
Gift of William Leonard Nicoll
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group